“Despite low oil prices, the trend toward lower-cost renewable energy will continue in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as business confidence grows in the sector’s potential and countries adopt increasingly favourable regulations,” said Bader Al Lamki, Executive Director of Masdar Clean Energy.
Mr Al Lamki comments came during Masdar’s participation in the Bloomberg New Energy Finance “The Future of Energy Summit.” The two-day summit, themed ‘The Age of Plenty, the Age of Competition,’ saw over 2000 executives and thought leaders discuss the opportunities and challenges in the energy industry and the current trends that are reshaping the energy-mix across all four corners of the world.
The conference comes on the back of a record year for the renewable energy industry, which saw over USD 330bn invested globally.
This year’s summit included a keynote speech delivered by US Secretary of State John Kerry. In his remarks, Kerry highlighted how the UAE is committed to diversifying its energy use and “in particular increasing renewable energy in [its] fuel mix at unprecedented rates.”
As part of Masdar’s participation at the summit, Al Lamki spoke on the plenary session “After Paris: How will things be different?” to discuss the momentum after Paris climate negotiations in December 2015. The event touched on many of the themes that were debated during Global Action Day, the first global event post-COP 21 held during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January.
MrAl Lamki said, “In 2015 we took a big step forward, not least with the way that both the public and private sphere came together for the Paris climate change meetings. The economic and business case for renewables is there, which was in part led by organisations such as Masdar pushing smart collaboration and partnership models.”
Mr Al Lamki pointed to the Zayed Future Energy Prize for evidence of how businesses and other organisations can help governments reach the targets set at COP21 and in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by providing clean, affordable energy. The prize has been empowering innovators in Africa to develop solutions in clean energy that transform the lives of hard to reach, off-grid communities – improving health, creating jobs and boosting economic growth in the process.
Joining Al Lamki on the COP 21 panel were Delphine Eyraud, Senior Policy Advisor, Climate Negotiations COP 21 Presidency, French Ministry of Environment; Zia Khan, VP for Initiatives and Strategy, the Rockefeller Foundation; and Jeff McDermott, Managing Partner, Greentech Capital Advisors. Moderating the panel was Michael Liebreich, Founder and Advisory Board member of BNEF and Chair of the Advisory Board of WiSER (Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy), a UAE-founded initiative between Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
Mr Al Lamki further reinforced the potential for growth in the renewables industry across MENA during a Masdar-convened event “Wind and Solar in the Middle East and North Africa.” He discussed how the region has experienced record levels of clean energy investment in 2015. Solar investment alone grew from about USD 160 million in 2010 to about USD 3.5 billion in 2015 according to the MESIA Outlook Report 2016.
During the course of the event, panelists and leading experts in their field discussed how wind and solar are becoming increasingly viable and competitive as forms of energy. This surge has been driven by a cost effective investment environment and regulations that are providing the confidence for alignment between businesses and those shaping policy.
Mr Al Lamki continued “The market in the MENA region is maturing, and this is leading to greater business opportunities.Masdar has been at the forefront of this trend, driving the development and commercialisation of renewable energy and sustainable technologies across the globe.”
Masdar has been at the forefront of the UAE’s efforts to deploy clean energy at home and abroad, while driving sustainable economic growth, employment, innovation and prosperity. Masdar has nearly 1.5 GW of renewable energy projects either in operation or under development globally. The portfolio of projects underlines the operational excellence at the heart of Masdar’s experience in the renewable energy industry.